Sunday, November 19, 2017
Public safety

Deputies: Dunedin man had an arsenal and images of schools

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Deputies executing a search on a Dunedin home Wednesday expected to find signs that a 24-year-old resident was in possession of child pornography.

Instead, they found an arsenal of guns, explosives and a homemade silencer. They found aerial images of a middle school, an elementary school and a Hillsborough water plant. They found a note they believe Randall Drake wrote, promising that he will have his "bloody revenge" and "the world will burn burn."

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri spoke Thursday evening about the circumstances that led to Drake’s arrest at his 1234 Royal Oak Drive N home, where he lived with his parents. He was arrested about 4 p.m. Wednesday and faces felony charges of possessing destructive devices. He is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Drake has lived at the home since 2014, Gualtieri said. His parents said they had not known what was in the closet their son kept locked. There, deputies found the collection of guns and other weapons, which had been given names. They found a bat with nails jutting out of it labeled "Macy." Drake had printed aerial images of Essrig Elementary School, Ben Hill Middle School, both in Hillsborough County, and the Hillsborough County Water Treatment Center. Deputies found more than 2,300 rounds of ammunition and a tactical vest. His computer was seized to further investigate if he had child pornography.

A note they believe to be penned by Drake reads: "My fury at those who imprisoned me shall be vast and without mercy. I shall have my bloody revenge, and then the world will burn burn."

"It’s very concerning," said Gualtieri, his voice grave. "He could’ve caused some serious damage."

Gualtieri said Drake’s girlfriend told deputies he was a nice guy and wasn’t violent.

Drake had no previous criminal history with the county. His parents told authorities he had been homeschooled since the third grade. They knew he had some guns, he said, but not to the extent of what deputies found, which included a high-powered AK-47 assault rifle and a .50-caliber pistol.

All of it, he said, minus part of the silencer, did not require a permit or license.

The last place Drake worked was Florida Firearm Academy in New Port Richey, Gualtieri said. They don’t know how long he worked there, but he was fired in 2015 after he came to work with guns strapped to his thighs.

Drake said nothing when he was arrested, which Gualtieri said was even more troubling, comparing him to Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock in the way he seems to be acting alone, flying under the radar and owning a stockpile of weapons.

The investigation is ongoing. Gualtieri said that although detectives believe Drake was acting alone and found no evidence of any organization affiliation, he notified Hillsborough County superintendent Jeff Eakins about the images concerning the schools.

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